“If I should say “My foot has slipped,”
Boston is known for its cobblestone streets; former cow paths really, filled in with cobblestone as first horse and carriage, then automobile, came along. It’s one of the things people find charming about Boston.
As someone who lives here, they are at times charming – and at other times annoying. While a hallmark of the area, they are hard on the feet. My shoes wear out quickly, uneven on one side of the heel, causing discomfort in my legs. Or I don’t see a change in the level of stones and my ankle turns.
It’s easy to trip. Lost in my thoughts, thinking I’m steady on my feet, I trip and I curse.
I want to cry. My foot has slipped and I think I’ll fall. I do that silly, quick look around that we humans do when we stumble, knowing that my thoughts are obvious to anyone who studies human behavior “Did anyone see me?” There’s someone at least two blocks away — I’m safe from having to acknowledge to another my human frailty. I right myself and I keep going. My thoughts, previously calm, turn anxious.
It happens a lot. And because I am who I am, I quickly draw the parallel between my tripping, my stumbling, and life.
I trip a lot in life. I lose balance. I stumble and sometimes I fall. I lose my way, tripping in the process. Anxiety increases as peace decreases. And I hate it.
“If I should say “My foot has slipped….” These are words from the Psalms that I learned long ago. But to be faithful to the Biblical picture painted by the Psalmist I must finish the verse. It’s not enough to just acknowledge that my foot slipped, that I’m embarrassed and frustrated.
“Thy loving kindness, Oh Lord, will hold me up.”
It’s an important ending to the verse, an important addition to my thoughts. I steady myself and take a deep breath. The cobblestone streets are still in front of me, they will not go away. They are a part of living and working in this area.
Life with its trips and stumbles is not going away. But thy loving kindness, Oh Lord, will lift me up.
But there’s more: Continuing to walk, I remember the ‘more’ “When my anxious thoughts multiply within, your consolations delight my soul”. The tripping in life, the stumbling and falling is bound to happen, and with this comes anxiety. These verses acknowledge my inevitable slipping and God’s loving kindness; my related anxiety and God’s consolations.
“If I should say “My foot has slipped”, Thy loving kindness, Oh Lord, will lift me up. When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul” Psalm 94:18